There is a unique subset of baseball players, known as relief pitchers, who have played a crucial role in securing wins for their teams throughout Major League Baseball‘s storied history. These unsung heroes may not get much of the spotlight, but their contributions to the game are invaluable.
There will always be fresh bullpen pitchers who create a name for themselves in MLB. However, the mystique of these great closers lives on, permanently imprinted into baseball lore.
Their efforts have improved bullpen pitching as a whole, and their names will be remembered as benchmarks of skill, grit, and game-winning brilliance for all time. Here are Major League Baseball’s top three closers, the best of the best when it comes to closing out games.
3. Rollie Fingers
Rollie Fingers, the first pitcher in baseball history with 300 career saves, was a trailblazer in the art of finishing games. Fingers was a baseball legend for his unflappable calm on the mound and his signature handlebar mustache.
Fingers was instrumental in helping the 1970s Oakland Athletics win three straight World Series championships as a part of the team’s powerful bullpen. One Most Valuable Player trophy, three Cy Young Awards, and seven All-Star Game appearances are among his many honors.
2. Trevor Hoffman
If you’re looking for a reliable and effective relief pitcher, look no further than Trevor Hoffman. Over the course of an amazing 18-year career, Hoffman built up 601 saves, second only to Rivera at the time of his retirement. Hoffman spent the vast majority of his career with the San Diego Padres.
With his devastating changeup, the seven-time All-Star helped make the Padres’ bullpen strength and won the hearts of fans. His place as one of baseball’s all-time great closers was cemented in 2018 when he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1. Mariano Rivera
When evaluating the best relievers in Major League Baseball history, Mariano Rivera must inevitably be included. Rivera, often known as “The Sandman,” had 19 great seasons with the New York Yankees.
Using his characteristic cut fastball, Rivera shut out batters and set a record with 652 saves. He was the best relief pitcher in playoff history because of his outstanding performance. Rivera cemented his place in baseball history by winning five championships and setting a record with a lifetime ERA of 2.21.